13th ITF World Champs - Poland 2003
Competition has started - we are hoping to have some
12.06.03 From Andrew Niven/Paul McPhail
11.06.03 From Andrew Niven
Well the NZ team is finally locked into competition. After a
stressful walk to the Novatel (for most of the team) we were shuffled into a room where we sat and waited. Jarrad says "this is just like work, hurry up and wait".
After registration we were sent down the hall for the moment I had been dreading all night! As you may guess I did not sleep well after we discovered just how far off some of the people were. It is amazing how much water you retain from flying.
I can't say anything more than that I am completely shocked at just how smoothly it went. Everyone stood on the scales, and every time I heard, "yes ok". When Thu finally got onto the scales and I watched them bounce up above the weight, and then settle almost a Kg below I held my breath. Finally "yes, ok". Noise filled the room as the girls cheered, Greg shot out the door and called out to the male team "Shes in" I could hear their cheers from the weigh in room.
Strangly it was uneventful, the worst part of it was the stress leading up to it.
We gave the team the morning off. They were happy and deserved to blow off a little steam. We have just met for lunch, and when I got to the icafe it was full of NZ team members.
What have we heard so far? Paraguay think that the mens team looks strong and they like our womans team (but for other reasons). One of the Aussie girls is concerned to the point of not wanting to compete against one of the New Zealand Black Belts in patterns.
Also it is really neat that we are noticably being respected here, the other teams know who we are and they tend to give us a lot of space.
However, the team is always dressed as a team, they walk proud and they stay together, they have been polite to shake hands with members from other countries and always remember to be nice. They look confident and hungry.
I keep asking Megan what else I should put in here and all she says is <weak voice on> "I dunno.... I'm tired..." So John, that means nothing changes does it!
Alix has been keeping us on our toes, she seems to always be the one who misses what the group is doing, or she is busy when they move off and doesn't know where we have gone. We have learned that we need to tie a leash to her.
The team is in good spirits, it is funny though, there is a little reserve in the joking now, they know what is about to happen and I think that sub-consciously they are prepared for it.
Thanks for all the wishes of luck, thanks to the New Zealand team fan club, we hear you!
Megan still has nothing to say.
Andrew and Megan - Warsawa, Polska.
11.06.03 - 8.30pm: Call from Greg Skinner
Mr S was strolling back to the hotel, feeling that it had turned out a very good
And Greg believes it was an important catharsis when it paid off at this first
official step - they flew through the weigh-ins - no fast talking to try and
squeak in, no going away for an hour to come back and try again.
So now they are enjoying the balmy 30 degree weather, heading back to the "Solec Orbis" hotel - magnificently placed 5 minutes walk from the tournament venue (if maybe not so magnificent in aspect). There will be "maybe a wee nap to catch up some of this morning's lost sleep", a team lunch, then back into it, with some light training at 3.
The team is now "locked in". Although those who travelled as reserves cannot now be called upon to compete, they will be performing valuable duties, assisting with training and the myriad other support tasks needed for a well-oiled team machine.
I have a good feeling about these guys and girls :)
11.06.03 - 8pm: Text flash from Mr McP
The upcoming competition: Thursday. ed:nb
Competition starts for the team at 9.15am Thursday Warsaw time
(WT), which will be 7.15pm on Thursday evening in NZ.
Team: Antje Hollaender, Alix Bartholomew, Carolina Dillen, Suzanne Main, Alison Roma, Lena Walton.
In the morning also is male special technique destructions:
Lunch break comes at 1.30pm WT - and places will be presented
After a generous 3 hour lunch,comes the evening session (4.15pm to 8.15pm - 2.15am to 6.15 am NZ time)
Team: Jarrad Ramsay, Carl van Roon, Hong Looi, Cameron Snelling, Rene Kunz, Jon Sawden. (delayed until Friday)
Female special technique destructions:
Team: Overhead - Carolina Dillen, Turning - Alix Bartholomew, Flying High - Antje Hollaender
A few quotes from members of the team:
11.06.03 From Gray Patterson in Warsaw
Hi there everyone...
11.06.03 From Andrew Niven and Greg Skinner in Warsaw
My goodness, after a nightmarish trip we made it here. Well, we did, most of the baggage did not.
Finally today we have most of our baggage and only have to trace down a few bits and pieces.
Lets learn a lesson from this... If the coach tells you to pack your dobok in your carry on bag, do as you are told. Our fingers are crossed that Kenny's Dobok will turn up with his bag later today.
Suzanne is breathing lightly that her dobok turned up last night.
Anyway, we met the Aussies, the Jamaicans, and Paraguay. Apparently the Paraguay men think the girls on the NZ team are cute, and should train without their tops, like the men. Note to Paraguay: make sure that there is no-one like Carolina around (who speaks more languages than I know exist) when you are making rude comments.
Weigh in tomorrow at 9:00am. New Zealand is first up. We have been speaking to some of the officials, and they have been very positive about our team. One of the most senior in the Polish TKD Organisation actually noted that NZ has been getting better and better and he thought that we might be the dark horse of the tournament. The team loved hearing that!
They are training in about 10 minutes with Mr Mantjika, Greg and I will be rushing back to try and get there half way through. Then it is a team dinner tonight, much fun, laughter and stories. Lights out by 10pm for an early start.
Tomorrow it begins!
Wish us luck (not that the team members need it)
Andrew Niven and Greg Skinner - Warsawa, Polska.
10.06.03 From Paul McPhail in Warsaw
I see the team hasn't been able to report in lately so here's some news from my side.
I met up with the NZ team down at the stadium yesterday. They are staying quite close so walked there. The main stadium as I said is huge, and the lights were out, so it made it seem even bigger. I could see the atmosphere of the place simply took the team's breath away as they entered and looked around. Andrew quickly got them together and asked them to visualize people in the seats and the competition taking place. They all spread out and did their own mental preparation. A few became quite emotional but were quickly re-focused to the job at hand.
The women and men split into their teams and worked on team
10.06.03 From Paul McPhail in Warsaw
Hi from Poland.
I have arrived here ahead of the NZ team by taking the direct route with no stop overs - which was rather a long slog!
The weather is nice and all going to plan. Was met at the airport and transported to the hotel.
I am staying at the hotel assigned for the umpires and not with the NZ Team - so I'm not sure when I will catch up with them.
Just been down to check out the Stadium - it's huge! No mats or any set up yet - just some teams practising in in smaller side gyms.
Caught up with the Jamacians that I met at the General Choi course in 2001 - they are here in force.
Organisation looks good - lots of translators running around etc.
Teams are starting to arrive and check in. Exciting! Word is there are around 400 competitors.
Will try and check in from time to time to give an Umpire's view of the tournament. All the best to the NZ Team!
09.06.03 New Zealand Herald Article on the Team
"This team deserves to achieve medal success," said team manager Greg Skinner. "The level of commitment and discipline from each team member has been phenomenal."
Read the full article on-line at the Herald website here
09.06.03 From Gray Patterson in Singapore
Day 2, in transit.
08.06.03 From Darren Ward in Singapore
Hi from Singapore,
we have a had a few events today while in transt.
Both me and Jarrod caused a little trouble after our tour of Singapore. It seems that a little bit of sunburn caught while at the pool this morning sets off the infared detectors here to a possible case of SARs (mental note: I should have packed my sunscreen in the overnight pack)
After we had our temperature checked we were cleared (the temp check was under the tongue and not the way as Gray would have everyone think), but I wonder if this will cause a bit of a problem in Heathrow.
Oh yes there was the case where Andrew was going into a frenzy about losing his passport......Andrew had asked Greg to go and find his gear in storage and check the luggage to see if the passport was in there...no luck
Then by a small chance Greg thought that the last time they had seen it was
when the luggage was checked in to the baggage storage room. Funnily enough Andrew checked his waist belt and lo and behold there was his Passport.
I guess it goes to show that you should check all your pockets before going off in a panic.
Anyway hope to email later.....if Me and Jarrod make it through all checks for body temperature at any further stage of the voyage!
08.06.03 From Andrew Niven in Singapore
08.06.03 Pictures from an Airport - by
08.06.03 ed: nb
It is early Sunday morning in Singapore - the team will likely be catching up on sleep for a few hours yet - time for some background data.
After a 24 hour stop in Singapore, the team will spend another
13'ish hours in the air to London. About 3 hours stopover there, then the
final leg to Warsaw, Poland.
A leisurely 2 & 1/2 hour jaunt across Holland and Germany (Antje can wave to her family) to Poland - arriving Warsaw just after lunch for the team, (+10 hours) 10.40pm NZ Monday night.
The Republic of Poland: has a land area of 313 thousand square kilometeres, (about 20% bigger than NZ) with a population of about 39 million. (TEN times more than NZ).
Currency: 1 zloty = 100 groszy, (about 2.2 zloty to the NZ$) (unless they use Euros).
Capital is Warsaw (where the Champs are being held), which has a population of about 1.6 million (so a little bigger than greater Auckland).
08.06.03 - Peter Casale - spotted the resemblance between a bearded Jon Sawden and Captain Haddock from the Tintin comics.
08.06.03 From Darren Ward and Andrew Niven in Singapore
Well we made it... finally.
Carl and Cam managed to get seats with no one beside them except the Aussie Junior Soccer team, so guess what!
Yup, Cam and Carl took up three spaces and left them with one.
Most of the team slept well, Greg missed both meals as he was asleep almost straight after takeoff.
Megan, Carolina and Andrew didn't sleep so well and are all looking the worse for wear.
Gotta go, off to the hotel (SLEEP FINALLY).
Darren and Andrew - SINGAPORE!
07.06.03 From Gray Patterson in Sydney
Well, it's been a challenging start to the trip...we are now in Sydney airport awaiting our Singapore connection.
For the Wellington contingent the morning started with a 9:45am departure, only to be thwarted by a broken windscreen heater... apparently they can't just use an old pair of undies to wipe the condensation off...
Anyways, after taxiing out to the runway, and then back to the terminal, we were off with a 30min delay. No worries.
(ed: of course maybe they could have got on with it and just taken off if they had a volunteer to climb out and give it a swish every now & then - eh Mr P)
We arrived in Auckland to the sight of the Auckland team members waiting patiently in line at the check out counter.
Antje was causing problems with the weight of her carry-on luggage, maintaining that there was a 64kg limit...apparently not (you don't say). (more like 7kg I believe! ed)
Unfortunately we soon discovered that there was a delay with our flight to Sydney, but we sent our trusty travel agent Trisha off to sort out the details.
It was looking increasingly likely that we were going to miss the Sydney-Singapore connection, but there was the possibility to jump on a later flight if neccessary.
Our original flight was cancelled, and we got reseated on a later flight (on the upside, it was a 767, rather than the intended 737 we were to go on).
To appease any disgruntled stomachs, everyone was given an $8 meal voucher.
That'll sort it...
This flight was due to board at 14:55, but at 15:30 we were still sitting at the gate lounge. Definately looking like we were catching the later flight to Singapore...but not to worry - at least we were underway.
Flight over to Sydney was fairly uneventful. A wee bit of turbulence on the way, but this didn't last long though. Strangely, when the turbulence started and the seatbelt sign went on (even the cabin crew went to their seats), up stands Hong. He must have thought it was the perfect time to go for a wander -
I guess the aisles were all clear of other traffic. "When the seatbelt sign is illuminated please remain seated" spoke the voice over the intercom...
We had a movie on the way, as you do, only it might have been better if they didn't.
We were treated to "Swimming Upstream", a triumphant piece of Aussie film making.
One magazine review said it was captivating - I guess the reviewer was also trapped in a plane whilst watching it.
What a sack of dung that was. I figured that a movie couldn't remain that bad for it's entire length. This one did...
Arrived in Sydney all ok though, and we are now awaiting our next connection to Singapore. The original layover here was to be 1hr, but we now have 5hrs before the next flight. We had a planned 26hr stopover in Singapore anyway, so it won't really matter if we eat into that a bit.
And hey, they've given us A$13 vouchers to spend for some more food now...big spenders...woohoo!!
Watch this space...
07.06.03 From Lawrence Mantjika, Cameron Snelling and Suzanne Main in Sydney
07.06.03 From Andrew Niven and Darren Ward in Sydney
Darren and I have just found a free internet booth, we can't plug in, and only one of the terminals works, but it is free.
As you know the plane was delayed. Well actually it gets better. It was cancelled... What - I hear you say - how did you get there then?
They put us on another plane and shipped us here.
We were scattered all over the place on the plane, and the only good thing was the meal. Now that is saying something.
On arrival in Sydney we discovered that (as predicted) we had missed the connecting flight to Singapore. Not to worry - the Q airline to the rescue again.
They have provided us with comfortable surroundings and lavished food on us...... YEAH RIGHT!
We were met at the gate, told we were here for about 4 hours, they didn't have everyones' boarding passes (and we had to convince them to give them to us). They provided us with a $13 voucher to go and eat in the food court.
HAH! The food court consists of one shop that sold bad panini's and dry wedges. Yum yum. Also, it is the end of the day so they are out of most things anyway.
So here we are sitting around in Sydney airport... waiting... contemplating an invasion of the business class lounge. I will let you know how that goes.
07.06.03 From Neil Breen in Auckland
The team left Auckland airport today - a few hours late - but in high spirits. Most were there before 11 am - to checkin for a 1pm boarding time.
About 11.30'ish the southerners arrived - all checked through to Singapore - no more queues for them :)
After an hour for the Aucklanders and Midlanders in the sllloooowwww checkin queue - flight QF190 was delayed for 2 hours! :(
That's difficult - they have tight timing for a connecting flight from Sydney to Singapore.
Well - apparently the (now somewhat unpopular) airline that starts with a "Q" is going to try and arrange new connections while they are in the air to Sydney... Good job they've got a full day layover in Singapore!
A request to the folks at home - if you hear any news from
your contacts on the team -especially on the long trip over there - maybe just "the shopping's great in
?Timbuktoo?" - please do drop us an email.
(also let us know if you spot any errors!)
TV Coverage: Sunday 8th, TV-One, 8.30 am
Saturday 7 June Depart Auckland at 1.00pm and arrive Sydney 2.30pm
Depart Sydney at 3.45pm and arrive Singapore 9.35pm
Overnight Singapore early morning Sunday 8th June
Depart Singapore at 11.35pm Sunday 8th.
Arrive London at 6.20am Monday 9th.
Depart London at 9.15am and arrive Warsaw 12.40pm Monday 9th.